The Jimmy Garoppolo conundrum, or at least the one the mainstream sports media has decided to highlight going into the first week of the Super Bowl matchup between the Chiefs and the 49ers, has been Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ stellar postseason play and questioning of whether the 49ers can win in spite of Garoppolo.
Garoppolo’s ability to lead the 49ers in crunch time has been the topic of every sports talk shows for most of the playoffs and seems to be based more on statistics than context.
The reason for the question marks surrounding Garoppolo are his last two playoff starts, in which Garoppolo has barely been relied upon to throw. In the divisional game against the Minnesota Vikings, he completed 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards and in the championship game against the Green Bay Packers, Garoppolo attempted just eight passes and completed six for 77 yards for the entire game.
49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked after the game why San Francisco ran the ball 42 times and only threw eight passes.
Shanahan responded: “Because it was working.”
This whole idea that the 49ers are scared of letting Garoppolo throw the ball is ridiculous.
There was a time during the season when the 49ers went through a tough stretch of games, where they needed Garoppolo to step up.
Following Week 9 of the season, there was an eight-game stretch where Garoppolo threw 18 touchdowns and only six interceptions, and the 49ers went 6-3 with Garropolo coming up big in crucial games.
There were a few games during the regular season that come to mind, in which Garoppolo came up big for his team. For instance, in the game against the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers were involved in a shootout. Garoppolo carried the team on his back, putting up four touchdowns and 349 yards through the air.
For me, the game that stands out the most is the final game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks which had huge playoff implications. Going into a stadium that has haunted the 49ers in years past, Garoppolo played brilliantly. He surgically sliced and diced Seattle’s defense, and the moment never seemed too big.
The problem with the mainstream sports media is that they forget what Garoppolo has done all year and are only thinking about the last two games.
Instead of thrashing and questioning Garoppolo, maybe the media should praise him for not being selfish and doing whatever it takes to win games, even if that means he doesn’t have the flashiest numbers.
Flashiness is just not the way this team has been built. It doesn’t rely on only one aspect of their offense. This is a well-rounded team that can run, throw and will do whatever is necessary to win. There are no egos on this team.
The 49ers may not have a Patrick Mahomes under center on Super Bowl Sunday, but they also won’t have a game manager, like Trent Dilfer was in Super Bowl XXXV. Garoppolo can get the job done, if the 49ers choose to do so.